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Us 6, Oakland 6, Mta 5, San Francisco 5, Sfmta 4, Chiu 3, L.a. 3, Alameda 2, Sacramento 2, Joe Henry 1, Michelle Gedess 1, Suhr 1, Ken Bukalski 1, Ms. Geddis 1, Mr. Berkowski 1, Mr. Reiskin 1, Cio 1, The City 1, Los Angeles 1, Thexv 1,
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  SFGTV    [untitled]  

    April 17, 2013
    10:14 - 10:44pm PDT  

metro subway. the current system at mta is 30 years old. i believe that they are expecting the new system to be completed by 2015. and i am told that it has zero general fund impact. the primary funding for this system has been federal state and prop k grants. and 10 million funded through the mta's operating funds and revenue bonds. the next system is -- >> excuse me. before we go off into that, if i could ask a couple questions, perhaps to joe henry from the mta. so, i understand four years ago there was a discussion between -- this is before your time. there was a discussion between dem and sfmta to consolidate at least two of these systems together. i know there was an mou that was signed between the mta and dem to build an integrated
system at coit in 2010. we got a presentation on how you consolidate these three separate, at least three systems into two. could you give us a sense of what happened to that planning? >> i believe you're referring to interoperability agreement between sfmta, dem and dt? >> yes. >> i believe that agreement is still in place. and elements of that agreement we're still counting on. for example, after the system is in place, sfmta does not have the in-house staff to maintain certain aspects of the back haul system. we have requesting services from dt. in terms of the i guess it's called a trm, public service radio network, i believe all the directors that signed off on that are no longer with us today. it is something that we had an option in our contract for execution, but whether that option is still viable at this point or desired by the city, that's something that we need
to receive direction on. >> this is michelle gedess from dem again. i'd like to add, when mta was formulating the contract for their radio replacement project, they had an option to expand that network to incorporate the needs of some of the public service departments like dpw, the utilities commission supports. that was an option that we explored. we came to coit and requested funding. and i'd like to go back and review the coit year, but i think it was for 10-11 to do funding for that portion of the program. at the time there were fiscal challenges and it wasn't funded at that time. it is still on the horizon as a need, but i think we've sort of laid out that the most critical need at this point is for the public safety 300 megahertz radio system and to get funding for that system. >> okay. the reason i ask these questions is four years ago i
think we made a decision between dem and sfmta there was going to be some attempt at consolidation. and i appreciate a few years ago we did have budget issues, but right now given the fact that we're being asked to fund $116 million for the sfmta and then another 70 million or so for the 800 megahertz, public safety radio network, it's not clear to me that we can't build on top of the sfmta system to augment some of what you might need from other functions that actually could be far cheaper and a bit more integrated than the $70 million that we're about to spend. and i know that none of you were heading up your agencies at this time four years ago, three years ago, but this is just a question that i need to ask, which is from my standpoint these seem to make sense and i'm not sure why today that would make sense. >> right. i agree with you. i think there is a lot of opportunity for collaboration. i will say that the mta system is a very large complex system.
there is a lot of different subsystems. the radio portion of that program is small compared to, you know, the $116 million program. i think we want to have a consultant come on board and help us sort of navigate the intricacies of the technology and how we can incorporate these two size at thexv. so, i think there are opportunities for collaboration in the future. one other point is that the mta transit system is a very unique technology. and i know that it's being designed very specifically for the needs of the transportation agency. for example, coverage of the system is targeted for the bus route and the transit route, whereas in a public safety network, you have to design the network for a full city-wide coverage, in building, below ground. and, so, there are several requirements that we're going to need to take into consideration as we start planning for the replacement of the 800 megahertz public safety system. so, we would like an expert
advice and consultant to really help navigate those type of issues. >> and i guess what i would say to that is my understanding is the sfmta's psvrn system included both transit data, voice component as well as public safety grade p 25 voice radio system. so, in other words, the sfmta system could be used by public safety folks to do what you need, and obviously you need transit folks who can go into tunnels and deal with emergency situations that happen on the mta and one would think that that technology could also be used for emergency management personnel as well. is that fair? >> again, it could be. i'd like to floor that with an outside party expert. ~ explore that i can say the public safety system today, for example, is built with eight radio communication sites as well as over 30 bda.
high intensity coverage areas. for example, the mta system is only built with four sites. so, you're looking at a very large difference in coverage. and the amount of channels that mta is deploying is good for their operations. but when you consider the needs in those 100,000 push to talks that happen daily for the public safety department, there would need to be significant expansion in order to accommodate that. >> okay. and again, by the way, one thing i should tell my colleagues is i have quite respect for the personnel and city staffers that are providing this information. i need to ask some tough questions because i'm still unsettled as to where all this is going. my understanding is a couple years ago we confirmed with the fcc that the funding we were spending on the mta system could be used to further integrate with the type of operations that we're talking about when it comes to emergencies and public safety issues. so, a few years ago we made that commitment to the fcc and yet today with different
personnel, you're essentially saying something very different from what i think we committed to the federal government a few years ago. >> i'm not -- i know -- i don't know if i can address this. the ask is about funding -- funding that sfmta is using? >> no, it was more about what the expectations were in 2009 and 2010 about the fact that this sfmta system that we're spending $117 million for could be used also, could be inter operable, but could be used for a platform for our public safety communications. and what i'm hearing from you today is you don't think that could be the case, but that certainly what was envisioned a few years ago by the sfmta in the mou that they had with the department. >> i think the sfmta is building a voice component that is inter operable. it is going to be built on the new digital project 25 radio standard, meaning that you can take any manufacturer's p 25
radio and it will work on that network. and, so, as mta is building that network, our public safety agencies, if they get that radio, that the new technology radio, then our police and fire users would be able to operate on the network that mta is building. so, yes, it's capable in their network. i guess my point is that the network that mta is building today i don't believe has the capacity that it needs to have in order to support the public safety users. >> right. and i think that's -- i think that is true from what i understand, but i also understand over the last three years dem has spent about $10 million on grant funding to augment a legacy sur system at capacity and p 25 interoperability and yet this new extended system doesn't have any new active users. my question again, why couldn't we use that $10 million to figure out what we're going to do here and add on to the $117
million system rather than building a separate $70 million system? >> and we will definitely look at that. and i think that's what we need the consultant to do, to help evaluate these different options because we have the ability to expand and build upon what dem has invested in. we also have the ability to expand and invest in what mta is building. so, i think we have a couple different options that we can explore and we would like some outside technical support to go through those options. >> okay. not be to be labor the point. i appreciate we're going to get a consultant to do this. what i don't understand is why we didn't do that last year, the year before, the year before that and we're already spending $10 million from dem to build out dem's system rather than thinking about whether we could integrate and just build on the sfmta system. >> so, i really -- i can't answer that specifically, but
the system i believe you're talking about that we're building out is the system of the future. that's what the whole system is going to look like. and, you know, why didn't we like just jump in and do the 800 megahertz a few years ago. it's all been funding issue. i know we have gone to coit over the years with our need. we identified the need -- well, we knew it was coming before the ten-year point that the equipment was getting old and it's 13 years now. so, again, that precedes me and it's a little bit challenging when, you know, ed reiskin wasn't in his position, i wasn't in mine. ken bukalski wasn't the head of dt. it was all different players, so, i really can't say exactly why. i'm not sure, you know, what decisions were made why. my guess is it was financial. we had? ~ some very tough years in the
city. >> let me suggest the following, which is i do understand we have totally new leadership today than we had three, four years ago. and i do think and believe that each of the current department heads are making the best decisions that you can. that being said, i think the lack of continuity and frankly the lack of overall management in this area has meant, from my perspective, i am concerned that we might be spending $70 million for a new radio network that we should have been investing on top of the new sfmta system that could have been more cheaply done. so, there is an issue of sort of overall lack of management in this area that has nothing to do with you and i think nothing to do with mr. reiskin. i see on the mous and the coit presentations this involved your predecessor and bell nap ford. from my perspective, no one was looking into this and that's what i'm trying to understand. ~ >> i would have to agree with you. i think it was done in silos and i'm sure that we were trying to use coit. again, i wasn't there to pull everything together, but we saw
that same disconnect and that's why we created last summer the executive steering committee for all of these radio projects, which is meeting now quarterly. we just had a meeting earlier this week. the mayor's budget staff sit on that. all of the relevant department heads and also the technical folks to look at from a city perspective what our needs are, what the challenges are coming up, and we -- you know, so, i think we're doing a good job identifying those. one of the thing that this committee came up with and said we need is this consultant that ms. geddis was talking about to really figure out, look at all of the varying projects and give us some, first of all, scope out the needs of the 800 megahertz in more detail, but also to be able to look at the public service radio system, what is going to be needed and that might be where we might be able to fit that system if mta
had the capacity or a new 800 megahertz, or if there was some combination of options, but we need those options. >> actually, then, i think we're on the same page. it's acknowledging that there were tremendous, i guess, lack of coordination in the past with the stylized departments. i want to say for the record we still have a currently acting cio. so, mr. berkowski who came into his position in the last few months, i in no way suggest that you or mr. reiskin or he has any responsibility for where we are today. but it is kind of a mess. and the fact is we are moving down the path with a $117 million sfmta project, a $70 million public safety radio project, a $78 million bay web project when it's possible that we could have two systems rather than three. one thing i just want to say to mayor's budget office, i very much hope we will not make any long-term decisions on a 69,
$70 million public safety radio until we've done the analysis with the consultant and understand where we can go and figure it out from there. >> thank you. should i continue on with my presentation? so, i think we left off with the public service radio replacement. again, we've actually talked about this quite a bit. we're estimating that would be probably 5 to $6 million to replace the radios. infrastructure costs are -- pardon? oh, we need the slide on, please. thank you. the infrastructure costs would be determined, but again this consultant we would bring on could give us the options. that's what we are hoping, is that we can explore the existing opportunities for future collaboration between the departments and between the systems. but i did want to just
acknowledge that, you know, there is a need there, and that's -- that is departments like dpw and port and puc and unified school district who use these systems and have the need and that's a very old system. >> and right now you assess it at 5 to 6 million even though it's not in the budget. so, you do expect we're going to have to spend that amount of money over the next few years? >> we were asked i believe by, i think by the mayor's office to give us a guesstimate of what that would cost. it's be in the budget for the next two years, and we would not -- our anticipation is it probably wouldn't be a build out until 2007 or '18. i believe that's what we were looking at. and in that case, if it was fiscal year 18, hopefully we would have had all these options very vetted, publicly vetted, figure out what the best direction is so everyone's comfort level would be at ease,
that we were going the direction we should be, making good public policy. other questions on that? the comparison of wireless systems, i just wanted to show this real quickly. again, it's very hard to conceptualize. you know, the public service or public safety, rather, radio replacement, 800 megahertz, is voice, as i've said. bay web is data. mta is a specialized transit. and the public service is voice. the only one of these systems that is a life safety system at this point is the 800 megahertz. again, you know, at some point when devices are created that can be pushed to talk on the bay web network, that could become life safety as well, but right now it's the 800 megahertz. >> actually, if i could just interject there, my understanding is the sfmta
system includes data and voice and a public safety radio system, that we can actually, if we have the capacity to do all that. >> i'm sorry, can you repeat the question? >> isn't it true that sfmta prn system is transit data and voice and a public safety grade, p-25 voice radio system? >> the sfmta system consists of two systems, 800 megahertz system and 700 megahertz system. i know the 800 megahertz system does have some limited data capabilities. my understanding is bay web is nowhere near the capability of the bay web system based on lte technology. 700 megahertz, from memory, i'm not sure whether 700 megahertz has data capability. i don believe it does. i believe it is strictly for our handheld users for sfmta staff. >> my understanding is you can
do it on. so, if that is true, again, if the suggestion is these radio systems are just communication systems are not that similar, i'm not sure i buy that. but you're not sure either? >> in term of the data capability of the 700 megahertz system, i do not recall. just in general, i think the big we is whether the sfmta system can accommodate the needs of our public safety users and that's the question we do not know. sfmta does not know. it sounds like dem staff wishes to hire a consultant to help determine that question. so, and that's something very similar to what the sfmta did in term of hiring consultants to do a requirements capture which is how we ended up with the scope we have today. and the contract that we're proceeding with. >> and, again, i know, colleague, this has probably gone into the weeds, but i have in my hand a coit presentation from 2010 that size the mta system would allow for the
maintenance of three systems to decrease personnel and infrastructure and other costs. ~ the public safety departments will have a platform to migrate onto that's inter operable. so, in other words, everyone can use this. all departments will have the same coverage and communication capabilities. this is what your departments all said a few years ago. i have an m-o-u between all the departments that suggests that you were going to all work toward an inter operable system. so -- >> [inaudible] was again the public service radio system that was -- that was being referenced not the public service radio system. two different things. i think originally there was the intention to be able to have all the public service radios and mta on the same system. and i believe there is still that possibility because we don't know what the capacity is of the system and that's another reason why we want the consultant on board. >> okay. so, in other words, we don't know yet until we have a consultant on board who can
tell us despite all the money we've spent kind of where this is going? okay. >> so, back to the slide we were on before, the comparison of wireless systems. so, the covered area in everything but bay web is just san francisco. the two systems you referred to that are pricey, the bay web and mta or two of them are both federally grant funded. they're not general funded. major source of funding for the 800 megahertz would have to be general fund, as would the public service radio. although as i mentioned earlier, we are looking for additional funding. if there's any grant opportunities, we're always looking for other money that we can put into the system. i think this slide, which we shared with you a couple weeks ago, president chiu,
graphically lets you see what i'm trying to say verbally, is that the vast majority of the funding is not general fund. the bay web infrastructure and the sfmta project are not dipping into the general fund. the most part of the general fund request is for the 800 megahertz, although there is a little bit for the public service radio, or there will be. and a little bit for the bay web devices and service fees. now, the police [speaker not understood] in chief suhr's presentation earlier, he was talking about buying devices now for his officers that are smart phone type devices. we all know if we have a smart phone that the life of those is not very long, two or three years. so, they are going to be paying -- if it's approved by the board, that allocation request,
we'll be paying monthly service fees to a commercial carrier for those phones. it is our intention that once the new system is put in place where we do have that data capability in 2015-16, that we would continue to pay the monthly service fee, but this time to the public safety specific system which is bay web. so, that would be, again, it is the discretion of the board what you are going to approve in this next two-year budget. but if you do approve that, those service fees will be basically ongoing. it will just be a different device in hand. >> before you move off the slide, i want to make a couple observation to my colleagues. i understand the point of the slide is to show that about two third of the money for the $270 million price tag for all these systems is coming from nongeneral fund sources. that being said, this is still real money. and on top of that, in the
general fund we're spending close to $80 million. and one thing i point out, colleagues, typically during our budget process, we fight for scraps for add-backs on the tune of tune of 15 to $20 million. we're talking about close to $80 million of general fund money going for radio systems that from my perspective i think could be redundant. and again, i think it just goes to how we need to take a step back before we proceed and make significant investments here. >> i would like to just say on a personal note the thing that keeps me awake at night -- there are quite ah few things related to my job, as you can imagine. but, you know, what happens if that 800 megahertz system does not function any more? that is, as i said, the life line of our police and fire and sheriff. you know, they rely on that every day on the streets for public safety. so, i totally agree with what you're saying. that's why we ask for money for the consultant for the next two years. but in whatever form those
recommendations come out, until there is some new kind of system to replace that, we need that push to talk capability. officers need within half a second to be able to push their radios, communicate with our dispatch, and communicate with each other. it's absolutely critical. >> and i completely agree with you for that. let me make just one other point, which is san francisco, my understanding, we're the only major county in the bay area that has large scale radio systems. if you look at los angeles, they are in the process of consolidating their multiple radio systems into one system, which includes public transit. oakland has consolidated their radio users into a single p-25 radio system. for less than $10 million. and they are also inter operable with transit. sacramento county operates one radio system for all agencies in their county, including public transit as well. they've been doing it successfully for many years and their price tag was far less than what we have here. so, i don't think we should do anything to jeopardize our
public safety needs, but i do think we can take some lessons from other jurisdictions and figure out if we can do it better here in san francisco. >> i totally agree with you. and one of the lessons we took from some of our neighboring communities and i won't mention them, but is how they did not get a consultant first to scope out the project and maybe the project was not very expensive, but it's also not working. so, you know, if you cobble together thing that are not meant to be cobbled together, it could be a disaster. we want to be methodical as we go forward. we want to make sure we're doing the right thing. this is public money we're asking to spend. we want to be conscious of that and make sure that we do it in a way that is, is, that is transparent and that is going to give us a system that works. >> so, are you saying sacramento and oakland and l.a., their systems are not ready for -- >> all i know is what i read in the paper about oakland and, you know, you probably read the
same articles. i think they've had real problems with the coverage of their radios in oakland. oakland opted out of the [speaker not understood] system when alameda put all of the rest of alameda county, to my knowledge, is on the same system and oakland chose their own. and it's been a real challenge. my counterparts over there have a hard time every day, you know, and i think that they brought -- i think they brought on a consultant recently in the last few months to see what kind of fixes they could have, but they have had huge challenges. as far as l.a., l.a. is a whole different -- a whole different animal. and i've talked to my counterpart down there, jim feather stone. they're having problems even with their bay web project and they got a lot more money through mtia through the federal grants for their bay web project or their dtoc project rather than we did. and they've already gone out to
bid twice -- throw during the third time to bring on a vendor to help them build out the system and they have not been able to yet. >> and i appreciate your point around needing the budget that is transparent. and again, this is why i've asked to bring this in front of this budget committee. as you know, this is the first time we've had a public discussion on this topic. and from my perspective, we've been having discussions at coit. it's been difficult to get to the bottom of what we're doing. so, i do look forward to continuing the conversations about how we can all work together to get this done right. >> i only have a couple more slides. i'm almost through. i wanted to show you what the anticipated schedule is. so, again, i mentioned before, bay web 2015 build out, that's by september 2015. that's what the feds are requiring with that grant. we're looking at if the conclusions of the consultant over the next couple years give
us the road map for 800 megahertz, and it is something that the board of supervisors supports, we're looking at 2018 to cut over that system. i believe the mta system is going to be operational in 2015. and again, i did not want it off our radar screen, the public service department. so, i put it out there, but we really -- we haven't scoped out that project and we are hoping that our consultant can come in and give us some really good options on how to move forward on that. and then my last slide is just the estimated budgets, which i believe we basically already talked about quite a few times. i will point out again the 75 million for the bay web project, 15 million of that is for san francisco. so, it's a little challenging in doing a chart like this that you've got the 75 million which is regional, the general fund
request that we are asking is for san francisco. so, it's a little bit like comparing apples and oranges, but i wanted to give you the whole picture. and, you know, if there are other questions, i'm happy to attempt to answer them. fire and police are also both here in support of these projects. and i'm sure that they could answer your questions, or our technical folks. >> thank you. thank you, president chiu. if there are no other questions, let's open this up for public comment. is there anyone from the public that would like to speak? seeing none, public comment is closed. do you have any closing remarks, president chiu? >> i think just a couple closing remarks. first of all, i do, despite my tough questions, want to thank the staff who have prepared for today. i know that they are operating under difficult positions particularly since many of them have recently come into their positions and are inheriting departments and legacy systems that have been